A lot of side characters made their way back to the “Firefly” screen before it was tragically canceled. Badger, Yo-Saff- Bridge and Niska all had second appearances, and surely would have made more in subsequent seasons.
So I ask myself: What other characters would have reprised their roles from this awesomely amazing, killed-before- its-time series? I think just about everyone, so let’s start with Atherton Wing.
Ath (can I call you Ath?) is a narcissistic sociopath who revels in the power his family’s money provides him while on Persephone. It is clear almost immediately that the only reason he wants Inara as his personal companion is so no one else can have her. He makes this clear when Harrow tells him he is a brave man when the Captain takes Inara onto the dance floor. “I know what’s mine,” he says. And again when he grabs Inara stating, “Excuse me, Captain, she’s not here with you. She’s mine.”
After the duel, humiliated, ostracized from society and most assuredly cut off from his family’s money, Ath needs another way of making cash. He may be a “spoiled dandy, but he’s an excellent swordsman,” Harrow professed after the challenge had been made. The most reasonable way for Atherton to support himself would be to hustle swordfights, just like a pool shark.
Perhaps someone figured out his hustle and took personal offence, or he got too drunk to fight properly, but Atherton is physically disfigured; maybe loses an eye or something. Now, disfigured, undersexed and dead broke, he has slipped into a spiraling rage from which there is no return. Part of his rage is directed at Malcolm for humiliating him in the duel, but Inara has the brunt of his hatred. I imagine those last moments play over and over again in his head. “You set this up, Whore. After I bought and paid for yeh. I should have uglied you up so no one else would want you.”
And an idea was born: He would ugly her up and she will know his pain. Added bonus: Take down Malcolm Reynolds.
So, Inara has a new client that wants to meet on a scenic, secluded moon, and the crew of Serenity have a salvage job not terribly far away. After Inara is dropped off for her appointment, Serenity departs for the salvage site. Once there, however, Malcolm senses that something’s wrong.
Meanwhile, Inara has finished setting up for the Companion Greeting Ceremony when there is a knock at the shuttle door. But it is not the man she expected, but is instead Atherton. A wicked smile spreads across his lips as he forces his way into her home.
Back at the salvage site, Malcolm looks around the ship they’re to pull salvage. Jayne and Zoë are loading up crates and fifty-gallon drums onto a loader when the Captain says, “Stop. Put everything back. Exactly the way we found it.” They’re confused, but do as they are told.
“Something wrong, Cap’?” Zoë asks.
“Seems too easy, like a trap. I keep expecting this boat to be swarming with Purple Bellies.”
And then it dawns on him. “Inara,” he whispers.
Back on Serenity, Wash is pushing the power cells as hard as they can go, questioning their sudden abandonment of the score of the century.
When they arrive at Inara’s location, the Captain, Jayne and Zoë can hear a loud struggle from inside the shuttle.
However, when they burst in, guns blazing, they are all three of them shocked at the scene before them.
A quick scan of the shuttle shows it in complete disarray. Broken lamps, tapestries and bedding are strewn about the cabin w/ a slightly-bleeding Inara hovering over a very-bloodied and broken Atherton.
“Is he dead?” the Captain asks.
“No,” she says breathlessly.
“So just humiliated, then. Once again. How poetic.”
So there it is. Just another take on what could’ve happened had a lot of people’s favorite
show never been canceled.
By Brooke Hammond